Thursday, April 23, 2009

Garden Planting for Colder Climates

How to use Wall-O-Waters

I live in North Idaho and when living in a northern climate zone you need to use every trick you can to extend the growing season. Wall-O-Waters are a great way to do that. A Wall-O-Water is a series of plastic tubes that are attached together in a circle, that you fill with water, hence forming a wall of water around a plant. They basically create a micro climate or mini-greenhouse for the plant because water is one of the best storage and conductors of heat.

Here's how to set them up. First plant the plant in pre-warmed soil. You can do this by putting the Wall-O-Water up a few days before or just by putting plastic down a few days before to warm the soil. (notice the rocky soil, we live on an old river bed) (actually, I've heard they help to warm the soil in the cloder climates because the rocks store solar energy and release it later in the day, when it's cooler)




After you plant the tomato plant, place a 5 gallon bucket over the top of the plant and then slide the Wall-O-Water over the bucket.



Now fill the tubes with water as you se one of my sons doing here. Alternate sides to keep it balanced as you go.

Here it is filled up. Now pull the bucket out.



Bingo you're done. Here's a look at the tomato plant down inside.



If the weather is going to be bad you can squeeze the top and it will form a tipi to protect the plant more.


Here's one with the top open and one closed as a tipi. I usually put a few tomatoes out in March so I get a jump on the season.



Remember to open up the tipi ones if the weather gets hot, I've fried a few plants before when I forgot about them. Also, once you're past the last frost and the weather is warm take them off. Also make sure you take them off before the plants get to big or you won't be able to.

I hope this helps you get an early start on your gardening. I've used them for everything from cucumbers to watermelons. I never had good luck with melons in a colder climate until I started using these and now I can get big watermelons in North Idaho (just leave them on a little longer until the plant is busting out of them, but make sure there open at the top or you'll fry them).



Happy gardening,

--Greg

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